HAVANA TIMES — Sixteen Cuban rafters were close to their goal of touching US soil when heavy rains kept them from reaching one of the Florida Keys.
In a perilous situation, the US Coast Guard rescued the rafters and the seven most dehydrated were taken on land to a hospital on Morada Island and are now in stable condition, Coast Guard spokesperson Mark Barney told Café Fuerte on Thursday.
Barney said the other nine rafters were being held at sea to determine their migration status, with the most likely scenario being their deportation to Cuba. He said the seven hospitalized could stay in the US and seek refugee status under the Cuban Adjustment Act.
While more Cubans have received visas to travel to the USA than in the past, a large percentage are still denied the possibility of legal travel, opting for risking their lives on rickety vessels. The prize comes when touching US soil where they can take advantage of the Adjustment Act, which puts them on a fast track to permanent residence.
Another group of 17 Cubans were detained Wednesday by Honduran authorities as they were trying to head by land to the United States.